Iran: Qeshm Earthquake Information Bulletin No. 1

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In Brief

This Bulletin (no. 1) is being issued for information only on the earthquake in Qeshm, southern Iran. The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has been providing timely relief assistance to affected people. At present, the IRCS does not request any international assistance.

The Situation

An earthquake measuring 5.9 on Richter scale hit the Qeshm island, Hormuzgan Province in southern Iran, at 13:53 hours (10:23 GMT) on 27 November 2005. Qeshm, a 1,500-square-kilometre island off the coast southwest of Bandar Abbas and 1,500 kilometres south of Tehran, has a population of more than 120,000.

The earthquake was felt for more than 10 seconds, killing ten people and injuring around 100, according to the Qeshm Island Governor who toured the affected area. The quake's epicenter was reported to be the village of Ziranag, which was more than 80 percent destroyed. Seven villages, including Gabardin, Tonban, Karvan, Tourian and Khaldin, have suffered damage of between 40 and 70 percent. Most of the houses made of mud bricks are now unsafe.

The quake shattered windows, causing residents in the city of Qeshm to run out in panic and take refuge in the open. At least four major af tershocks, ranging between 3.6 and 4.3, have since rocked the affected regions, according to Tehran University's seismological bases.

Iran's Seismic Research Centre says there is no tsunami risk from the latest quake.

The only hospital in the Qeshm cit y is full of injured people and there is a shortage of medical facilities. Power lines were cut in villages and the international airport on the island was also damaged.

Local authorities set up an emergency task force to rush relief to the victims. IRCS relief workers, together with paramilitary and police forces, are on the ground to provide assistance to victims.

Red Cross Red Crescent Action

The IRCS branch in Qeshm deployed relief and rescue teams in affected areas immediately after the earthquake to carry out search and rescue and relief distribution. IRCS relief workers began distributing food, tents, blankets and other relief items to affected people. Two IRCS helicopters are shuttling between Qeshm and Bandar Abbas, transporting injured people to hospitals in Bandar Abbas.

The Relief and Rescue Organization of the IRCS is keeping in close contact with the branch in the affected area to determine the needs and plan a relief operation accordingly. IRCS branches in neighbouring provinces are involved in providing relief assistance to people in need.

The IRCS says the situation is under control and no international assistance is required at this stage. The Federation delegation in Tehran is closely monitoring the situation, keeping in close contact with the IRCS.

For further information:

· In Iran: National Society Dr. Seyed Hadi Samaei,Director General, International Affairs Department; phone 0098 21 8866 2618, 88662619

· In Iran: Delegation contact Chang Hun Choe, Acting HoD, Tehran - ch.choe@ifrc.org, phone 0098 21 88672424-28, fax 0098 21 88672429, Mobile: 0098 912 2172507

· In Geneva: MENA Department, Evgeni Parfenov - evgeni.parfenov@ifrc.org , phone 0041 22 730 4325, fax 0041 22 733 0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

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